Homebuilder groups and the company that delivers the new home warranty program want the government to help clamp down on illegal building.
In a public campaign blitz in Brantford and Port Dover, they are warning that work by unlicensed builders and tradespeople fuels an underground economy, costs governments in lost tax revenue, drives legitimate contractors out of business, and expose homeowners to risk.
And those proponents are pushing the virtues of a federal tax credit for home renovations as a way to reward the homeowner, and help close a cost gap between legitimate construction and work those who are not registered in the new home warranty program that can cut their costs by up to 40%.
It also promises to bring more business to those who work by the rules.
In a public outreach exercise at the Empire Community's centre on Blackburn Drive on Wednesday, the heads of the Canadian and Ontario home builders associations, the Brantford Home Builders Association, and Tarion Warranty Corp. were pushing a common message in presentations and interviews with local media.
"The problem of illegal building is growing and the home buying public needs to be warned," said Rob Melich, president of the Brantford Home Builders Association, and executive in Walton Development and Management.
"Not only does is take business from licensed builders and certified tradespeople in the community who want to play by the rules and deliver a good product," he said, "work done by someone unlicensed places the homeowner at great risk. It could be the work that turns out to be back, or if someone is hurt on the job."
A permanent reno tax credit helps control the underground economy by making it attractive for new home buyers to pay extra to get something that is certified, said Melich.
"Most people want to do the right thing, pay their taxes and play by the rules," he said.
"The credit helps make it worth their while."
All builders who construct new homes in Ontario are required to be registered by Tarion. To be registered, builders are required to undergo and pass a technical, financial and business competency analysis .
"Illegal building is found in almost every community throughout the province and can have a profound impact on homeowners, the local building industry and local economy," said Howard Bogach, president of Tarion.
"Often, buyers of illegally built home are left living in substandard conditions, without assistance from the builder or knowledge of the warranty protection they are entitled to."
Unfortunately, Bogach added, there are no exact statistics to quantify the extent of the problem because so much of the activity is underground.
He noted a recent conviction for an illegal building that was found to have an undersized and improperly installed HVAC system.
It's important for new home buyers to know the facts about the program before getting into any purchase, he said.
"This if often the largest purchase many people are going to make in their lives. Often it's done too much on impulse. Buyers should take the time and be careful."
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How to protect yourself from falling victim to an illegal builder:
-- Before entering into any purchase agreement, visit Tarion's Licensed Builder Directory at www.tarion.com and ensure that the builder is licensed to build in Ontario. If in doubt call Tarion at 1-877-9Tarion.
--You can also call you local homebuilders association if the builder you're considering is a member in good standing.
-- Don't be swayed by builders who claim that they have a special exemption from being registered.
-- Be suspicious of such statements as: "You don't need a Tarion warranty because I offer my own;" or "I could enroll the home in the program, but it would cost you around $10,000 (enrollment fee range from $385 to $1,500;" or "I built the home for myself but decided to sell it instead."
-- If suspicious, call the Illegal Building Hotline at 1-800-786- 6497.
Source: Tarion Warranty Corp.
Source : http://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/2013/09/19/home-builders-want-action-on-illegal-construction